Supply of essential commodities in the state is likely to be disrupted as around six lakh truckers went on an indefinite strike on Monday, demanding immediate implementation of revised safe axle weights for transport vehicles among other things.
As per the revised norms, the axle load has been increased by 25 per cent. However, this is yet to be upgraded in the state, leading to huge losses, said operators.
The stir has been announced by Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators’ Associations (FWBTOA) and Posta Goods Transport Operators’ Association.
“We will continue with the strike till we get assurance from the government of meeting our demands,” said Sajal Ghosh of FWBTOA.
“We have many demands. There is also rise in the third party insurance premium every year, which adds to our financial burden. We are already in huge loss and the industry is collapsing,” added Ghosh.
As per the truck operators, almost 25 per cent vehicles have gone off road due to continuous loss in the last few years. The truckers also alleged that they have often been made victims of police harassment.
Besides, the truckers claimed that the implementation of Goods and Services Tax has also not solved their problem of long wait at state borders since there are multiple toll plazas across the country, which charge high rates for transport of goods. As per sources, a meeting between the truckers and government failed to yield any result.
“The supply of edibles, construction material and heavy metals would be affected by the strike,” said a truck operator. The truck operators had recently blocked national highways for two hours on July 10 from 12 to 2 pm.